Thanksgiving is all about the food, of course. But there’s another huge part of the festivities in many places: the parades! Get out there and get some gorgeous colorful action or detail shots of costumes, floats, and dancers. Here are our tips for better parade photos.

Get a good spot

This seems obvious for all parade goers. However, you’ll want more than just a front-row seat. You want to find a place where your subjects–the people in the parade and the floats–will be fully in the sun or the shade, not accidentally in both.

Don’t be afraid to move

Professional news photographers and videographers do one thing that’s very different from normal parade watchers. They move around! If you can, get up and follow the parade, finding perfect spots to take a good shot of the dancers or the floats.

However, you must always check first with your local police or parade marshals if this is okay. If they tell you to stop following the parade or to stay out of the way, please listen to them!  They are trying to keep the parade safe, and a photo will not be worth the trouble or other hazards.

Blur the background

If you’re in a tricky spot with the parade’s lighting, put the sun behind your subjects to back-light them. Then adjust your exposure to blur out or overexpose the background. This will help your subjects stand out and look sharp against buildings or trees that don’t matter as much anyway.

To achieve this, you can use a telephoto lens but get up close to capture a portrait without the details of the background.

Focus on one thing

Parades are crowded with dancers, marching band members, decorations and floats. So it’s easy to let your photo get overly busy, which will make it lose its impact. Get one person or part of one float as your subject. Get closer physically or use that telephoto lens to capture the details of your subject for a better photo.


We hope you get great parade photos this holiday! How have you handled photography during parades? Share your tips below!


Other Tips

Check out these blogs for getting the most of your Thanksgiving photos!

  1. Thanksgiving Dinner Photography Tips
  2. 7 Hacks for Flattering Group Photos
  3. Holiday Pictures Do’s and Don’ts
  4. Taking Pictures in Bad Weather
  5. 5 Secrets to Capturing the Best Winter Photos
  6. Fall Foliage Photography
  7. 5 Tricks for Flattering Photos
  8. Preserving Family Reunion Memories